Five Minute Friday: Steady

Along the Way @ mlsgregg.com

Gentle Reader,

I’m a country girl, born and raised near woods filled with hidden creatures and disappearing streams. The sound of owls hooting in the night draws up pleasant childhood memories of smoky barbecue and badminton and fat slugs. More often than not during the hot summer months, dirt gathers beneath my nails, evidence of yet another battle with weeds. The prairie on which I’ve lived for nearly a decade is ringed by ashy blue mountains, like those found on picture postcards. Ten minutes in one direction and one runs into a river. Ten minutes in the other, a lake.

My people – pioneers and farmers and horse thieves – trekked across thousands of miles in wagons or on foot. I know. The history there is complex and at times truly awful. No truly pure saint has ever lived this side of Eden. Still, I can’t help but admire the grit and moxie it must’ve taken to pull up stakes and leave the familiar behind, in the dust. To square your shoulders and press on, toward the hope of something better.

For all my love of London and New York, I could never live in a city. Give me the open spaces, the land where crickets cry.

Doing the link-up thing with the sass machines and the moustache crushes. We pontificate on the prompt: steady.

Go.

I’ll be 33 in roughly six weeks. There is now officially a Stacy London/Rogue of the X-Men/Anna from Frozen (pick your fandom) white streak in my hair. I guess I’m supposed to feel bad about both of those things. That’s what the vague, faceless mass called “society” tells me. Start shaving a few years off my age when asked and scurry off to the salon to hide the follicular evidence.

Why?

See, any day that I haven’t been told that I have cancer or that I’m in need of a transplant or that I’m dying is a pretty good day to me. Why should I waste time and energy worrying about age or hair color or wrinkles or whatever else it is about which I “should” be worrying? I have so little energy anyway. I’d rather spend it in other pursuits. (Not throwing shade at women who dye their hair or spend money on anti-aging treatments; I could not care less. It’s just not my jam). Besides, after experiencing the horribleness of waking up in the the night with a pounding heart, in the midst of a panic attack, anything I can definitively choose not to be anxious over, I will.

Maybe I’ll feel differently a decade down the road. Doubt it. If men become “distinguished” as they age, then so do women. Let’s reject the idea that the fairer sex decreases in value and significance the moment we slip past age 21. (Oh, there’s nothing that could entice me to be 21 again).

Time beats a steady rhythm, one we cannot pause or change. It is out of our hands. A thing we cannot control. All the creams and dyes and lotions and potions and injections and diets in the world will not stop the passing of the days, weeks, months, years. The body grows old. It breaks down. The very steadiness of time creates unsteadiness for skin and bone, muscle and organ.

How comforting it is to know that there is One outside the steady and the unsteady, One who is not ravaged by changing seasons, One whose eyes never grow dim. He is light and fire and radiance and goodness and beauty and mystery. He sits, enthroned, never to be toppled. He knows the number of hairs on our heads – white or otherwise. He determined the length of our lives long before that steady time even existed.

Yes, we age. We break down. Wrinkles and glittering strands and dimmed vision.

And yet – somehow – He builds us up. For the break down is not a winding down, but a winding up. An aching walk toward the Forever Place, the Eternal Home, where pain and sorrow exist no more.

Perhaps we’ll have polka-dotted hair and plaid skin there.

We won’t care.

Stop.

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Photo credit: Daria Nepriakhina

Five Minute Friday: Future

Along the Way @mlsgregg.com (1)

Gentle Reader,

I’m starting this at 2:15 p.m., when I have some energy.

What an awful two weeks.

Abdominal pain. Vomiting. Massive head cold. Much snot. Coughing. Insomnia. Migraine.

You may refer to me as Ms. Side-Eye Crabby McCrank von Pissy (the 3.145rdth).

Cue Leslie Knope:

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Again I maintain that all is not lost as long as one holds on to her sense of humor. It has indeed been a rough fortnight (why does nobody use this word anymore?) but there have been patches of mirth. Followed by rage as I read about Christian fundamentalism (current obsession). Followed by much nose-blowing. Followed by extreme napping (I’m contemplating going pro).

Glad to link-up with Kate and company at the new FMF home. Tonight we contemplate: the future.

Go.

I love to laugh.

People tend to assume that the anxious, depressed and ill lose their ability to chortle somewhere between the crying jag, the blood tests and the bottle of Zoloft. Once again, misunderstanding strikes. Only the very lowest, darkest days find me without strength to smile.

My parents are both funny, Dad in a quiet, dry, “did he really just say that?” kind of way and Mom in a goofy, silly kind of way. They regularly exposed my brother and I to comedy growing up, whether in the form of a sitcom, a Mike Neun special on PBS, or in the constant jokes and loving teasing that flowed during family gatherings (my dad has four brothers. When they would get on a roll… Great memories). Ours was not (is not) a perfect family, but one of the things my parents did very well was to teach us how to laugh.

A necessary skill.

I don’t know what the future holds for me. It’s all very vague and uncharted and boldly going where I’ve not gone before. (See this for some context). I won’t be a stereotypical housewife because #aintnobodygottime for Pinterest-perfect crafts and I hate crafts anyway. Seriously doubt I will ever develop a love for standing over a hot stove. (Unless mashed potatoes are involved). Might obsessively reorganize my house. I may write a never-ending series on cults and Christian fundamentalism. I could decide to take up jogging. (Yeah, no, I won’t). This stupid body of mine will probably continue to throw me curveballs. Really should find a sponsor for that extreme napping.

No idea what lies ahead.

But I imagine there’ll be a lot of laughs.

Stop.

More fun things because why not:

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Finally, the magic that is John Crist:

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Photo credit: Mark Buchanan

All Good Things Must Come to an End

Along the Way @ mlsgregg.com

Gentle Reader,

You’ve heard and said this phrase before, but probably don’t know that the medieval poem Troilus and Criseyde, penned by Geoffrey Chaucer during the 1380’s, is considered by most to be its origin.

There’s your useless bit of trivia for the day.

For the last two hours I have alternated between the fetal position and a renewal of my intimate acquaintance with the throne of porcelain. My face has that lovely gray, haggard look familiar to all who may release the contents of their stomachs, via their esophageal passageways, at any moment. There’s a small bruise on my “elbow pit” encircling an even smaller, red puncture wound, left behind yesterday by the phlebotomist who relieved me of some blood for a CBC panel. I would describe my hair as “wild,” but the term is far too banal for the masterpiece that juts out every which way from upon the top of my head.

Yes. Very glamorous.

This seems as good a time as any to share the following with you:

In the summer of 2000, about six weeks shy of my sixteenth birthday, I took an after-school job, paging for the library. Never did I imagine that, the better part of two decades later, I would still be doing library work – from paging to the busyness of the front desk to the detail-oriented tasks of technical services. The passing years have held many milestones and changes – high school graduation, college, marriage – yet the library and my place within it have remained constant.

Just as I did not imagine that so much of my life would be devoted to this unique and necessary form of community service, the possibility of a long and ongoing battle with illness never entered my mind. None of us have control over whether or not such things become part of our reality. This struggle, for better or worse, marks each moment of my days. Thus I find myself, however begrudgingly, brought to a moment of decision.

As the saying goes, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. At this time, I must acquiesce to that weakness. Therefore, I resign my position as Technical Services Specialist, effective June 30, 2017.

It’s time. I don’t know what lies ahead, but I know that this is passing into the behind. How seventeen years could have come and gone so quickly is a mystery to me. I possess many good memories. I believe that I have done work that matters, work that contributes to the proper functioning of a community.

“Librarian” is now a descriptor that drops from my list. (Or, rather “library clerk,” since I don’t have an MLS degree, but nobody outside of the Dewey Decimal world knows what that means). Yet I do not feel bereft. Jobs are jobs, not identities. They provide money to pay bills, not meanings for life. I remain entirely myself.

And really – I have never been career oriented. There were brief moments when I flirted with the idea of becoming a teacher or a lawyer, but what I’ve always wanted to do is write. Climbing ladders and management positions and corner offices have never featured in my dreams. At age nearly-33, I am content to be an author/awesome homemaker/professional sick person (well, okay, I could do without that last one). This good thing must come to an end so that another may begin.

I look forward in hope.

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Photo credit: Dmitrij Paskevic

Five Minute Friday: Park

along-the-way-mlsgregg-com

Gentle Reader,

Heavy eyes tonight.

Kate says: park.

Go.

Pull into the driveway. Put the car in park. Turn off the ignition.

A moment of silence.

Go inside. Drop lunch box, purse, keys on the table. Look out the back window, beyond the rain. See the trees, blurred like a Monet painting. Colors blend and shift and fade.

I forget, sometimes, that I’m sick. A string of good days, good weeks even, come and I push myself. Beyond what I should. Beyond what I can. Like the car, I must turn my engine off. Let myself park.

Sink into the rest that the world says must not be.

Stress lurks around every corner. Pulses on every screen. Unplug. Turn off. Watch the trees. Slip underneath blanket and sigh, knowing that tomorrow will come with all its pressing concerns, yet in this right now, content.

Stop. 

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